Sergio Romo will go down as one of the great underdog stories in Giants history. Taken in the 28th round in 2005, Romo spun his way to the big leagues with an unhittable slider, ultimately becoming a three-time champion, an All-Star, and the closer who threw the final pitch of the 2012 season.
It's an unbelievable story, and it turns out the start of it is pretty funny, too. Romo, now a Minnesota Twin, joined Amy Gutierrez for Wine Wednesday (he sipped tequila, naturally) and told the story about finding out he had gotten drafted by the Giants, who didn't contact him much prior to that night. Romo grew up rooting for the Dodgers in Brawley, a small town east of San Diego, and his grandfather was a huge Dodgers fan.
"It was rather ironic that it was them," Romo said, smiling.
Romo called his grandfather, who told him how proud he was and how even the 28th round was a chance to get his foot in the door and live out his dreams. After the conversation, Romo realized there was just one problem.
"I got off the phone and we realized that we never said what team," he said. "I had never told him what team. He called me back."
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As Romo tried to work his way up to mentioning his new employer, his grandfather said, "Anybody but the Giants!"
Romo remembers slickly pivoting, repeating his grandfather's speech about what a great opportunity it was. The Romo family came around quickly, too, and his grandfather was so proud of the way everything turned out that he asked to be buried with the first Giants hat Sergio had given him, as well as in the jersey Sergio had worn for the clincher in the 2010 World Series. That had been presented as a Christmas gift.
"Right now my grandfather, he has some pretty historic stuff on him from a baseball standpoint," Romo said. "It's a fitting place. That was part of his dream, to be in the big leagues too."
Romo played nine seasons for the Giants, but in 2017 he signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers. That broke a lot of hearts in San Francisco, but Romo explained that it as something that held great meaning to his family.
"It was a big accomplishment," he said. "My grandpa wanted to see that more than anybody else and he had just passed away the previous year. I couldn't not take that opportunity. I didn't know if I was going to have another opportunity to just do that for him."